On Friday, May 20, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a “refreshed” Nutrition Facts label, which, except for the addition of trans-fats in 2006, had gone largely untouched since 1994. Consumers will not only notice an updated design, which makes the label larger and bolder, but there are more substantive changes that, according to FDA, “are based on updated scientific information, new nutrition and public health research, more recent dietary recommendations from expert groups, and input from the public.”
Original vs. New Nutrition Facts Label
Among the notable changes are the following:
- Added Sugars: The new label requires that manufacturers declare the number of grams and a percent daily value (%DV) for added sugars. The label must also include the following statement: “Includes X g Added Sugars.” Previously, the nutrition label did not distinguish between sugar that occurred naturally in a food product from sugar that is introduced by manufacturers.
- Serving Sizes: According to FDA, the new serving size requirements are intended to “be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating.” As a result, for packages that are between one and two ounces, the calories and nutrients must be labeled as one serving because individuals will typically consume the entire food product in one sitting. In addition, manufacturers should include a “dual column” label for products that are between one and two servings. The “dual column” label includes the amount of calories and nutrients on both a “per serving” and “per package”/ “per unit” basis.
- Nutrient Content: Vitamins A and C are no longer required on the Nutrition Facts label, however, this information may be included on a voluntary basis. FDA contends that the need for Vitamins A and C declarations were based on a now rare vitamin deficiency.
- Text Size: The updated nutrition label will require an increase in the type size for “Calories,” “Servings per container,” and “Serving size” declarations. The number of calories and the “Serving size” declaration should also be bolded.
Manufacturers have until July 26, 2018 to comply with the new requirements. Those with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply. The Nutrition Facts label regulations apply to packaged foods except certain meat, poultry, and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.